Author Archives: dockfam

Is It Summer Yet?

Anyone as ready for summer as I am? I’m not just talking about the weather. Coming off of spring break for my kiddos…it’s so nice not having to worry about getting up earlier for school, checking grades online, asking about homework, making sure they both shower every day…. Also with summer comes VACATION. We will be doing the old fashioned road trip out west this year. Nothing like waking up before the sun, grabbing a coffee and hitting the highway.

What are you looking forward to this summer? Got any plans?

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Birthday Casino Run

My birthday was actually on Valentine’s day and I spent it cooped up in my house with my son – who less than gracefully tore ligaments in his ankle this past Thursday night skateboarding.  After an evening at the ER, I had to call into work and spend all day Friday waiting on him, hand and injured foot, as he couldn’t get out of bed. By Saturday morning I was ready to get out and spend the day at the casino to see if birthday luck would shower down upon me.

To start the day my mom brought me a bamboo plant which is supposed to bring fortune and prosperity. I tore a leaf off and stuck in in my bra…yeah, I did that.  After grabbing some Starbucks, my husband, my dad and I made our way the 1.5 hr drive to Choctaw in Durant OK – getting there around 1130am.  We had only budgeted $300 for the day between my husband and I.  I’m not sure what my dad started with.  My husband made a b-line for the Michael Jackson machine and the first machine I played was the new Buffalo Stampede.  I was betting 75 cents a spin and after a few spins I got the Stampede bonus. It retriggered a few times, you can see the whole bonus round below.  I love to see them run across the screen an hear people yelling “BUFFALO!”  I took my small bonus win and walked away.  In the meantime my Dad sat at the one next to me, not sure exactly able to figure it out completely and after several dead spins he decided it wasn’t for him.  I’m not a regular fan of the Buffalo slots but I liked it and will be sure to seek it out in Vegas in a few months.  I might even play some of the older ones that everyone seems to enjoy so much.

After that I went to check on my husband.  He had already lost $60 in the Michael Jackson slot and was plugging away at the new Ferris B. machine.  He’s a fan of the movie but that machine was brutal too.  I think he got a few bonuses that paid ZILCH and eventually lost another $40 or so in that.  No Ferris B for me thank you!  I went to seek out the G+ Deluxe machines.  I sat down at Laredo – which I can hardly find in Vegas anymore – and $20 lasted me quite a while.  I never got up past about $25 and never hit the bonus but cashed out at $10 and tried Kronos.  How I hate this machine. Nothing.  I was tempted to put more money into it but decided not to.  I found a Hercules machine which gave me a decent line hit and then played Spartacus.  I hate to love these machines.  They can be so good or so bad.  I never got the bonus but got this nice line hit:

I continued to play it a bit but wasn’t getting much out of it – oh how I wanted a bonus!!  But I never got one.  I finally tracked down my dad, who was watching his $$ disappear into the Lord Of The Rings, Return of the King slot.  While I waited for him, I sat down at one of those new Wonder 4 Superstar machines, which I had never played before.  I got a couple of bonuses that didn’t pay too much and nothing much more than that on regular play either.

We finally found my husband and he was playing Iron Man. Nothing was giving him much luck. By this point, my phone camera has ran my battery down to almost nothing and I had to save a little for when I found the Walking Dead machine. I played a bit of Bier Haus, got a small bonus (very small compared to the potential of this slot) as the guy next to me was on Napoleon & Josephine…he must’ve hit at least 5 huge bonuses in the short time I was sitting there. The machine just kept saying “Unbelievable!” “Incredible”! I wanted to slap him and his machine. My small Bier Haus bonus:

We finished up in that part of the casino and made our way to the newer, larger side.  My husband was leaving with only $20 of his bankroll left and I was leaving with almost all of mine.  So far the little leaf in my bra was helping out.  We were going to go have lunch but I spotted the Walking Dead slot on our way there, which I just HAD to play.  I was surprised to see that nobody was on them.  (I find out why) I sat down to play, put in $20 and started to spin.  I got a bonus pretty quickly and I was really excited.  All in all, this machine sucks.  A lot of hooplah for very little payout.  The line hits hardly pay anything and the bonus was crap too.  I’ll probably give it one more go when we are in Vegas next but it reminds me a lot of the Willy Wonka slot.  The casino manufacturers are making a killing on this tight ass machine.

In the meantime I proceeded to lose at a few more machines…I tried several G+ Deluxe games which didn’t pay me much.  I finally got a bonus on my favorite Mystical Unicorns and got a whole $2 out of it.  Woo hoo. I’m wasn’t sure what my husband was doing in the meantime but I found out later he was hitting up the only sure fire machine in the casino – the ATM.

The buffet was …eh, a buffet in an OK casino.  Use your imaginations.  My husband took off then my dad and I tried out a few older machines…an old Monopoly slot and a Press your Luck slot.  No luck for us.  My luck had taken a turn for the worse and I needed to find my husband to get more moolah.  Dad sat down at the new “Let’s Make a Deal” game and did really well.  He put in $5 and hit a bonus right away that paid pretty good.  Then he hit another, then another.  I went to get more money and when I came back, put a $20 in the machine next to him.  I didn’t hit one GD thing and was broke in less than 5 minutes.  I went off to look for something different to play and found a Miss Red slot.  I’d never played it before but I did ok and won a little on almost every spin.  Nature was calling and I had to make a bathroom run.  Just as I thought, when I came out my Miss Red machine was taken.  Dammit!

I went over to check on Dad and he had like $60 from his initial $5.  I convinced him to cash out and we went to find my husband.  On the way I stopped at Ghostbusters, hit a bonus for about $26.  Cashed out, then found my husband sitting at our evil nemesis Davinci Diamonds.  I looked at his credits and he had over $100!  I know he probably only started with $20 so he was on fire!  Of course I had to try so I sat down 2 machines down and played one too.  I played for a long time and doubled my money.  Again, my dad sits at the Rembrants Riches next to me, puts in $5 and hits for $40 on one spin.  I can’t believe it!

I’m keeping a close eye on my husband because I know he will run all those winnings back on through that machine in no time if I don’t convince him to cash out before it’s all gone.  He did put back about half of it.  We decided to start making our way back to the other side, where we had parked.  Passing the Dolly Parton machines, he just had to stop and she proceeded to kick his ass.  I sat down at one and hit a bonus right away for about $25.  The lady next to me got very upset and said she had just been playing that machine.  She cashed out of the one she was on and kept giving me dirty looks.  I told her I never have gotten a bonus on the Dolly machine before, which is true, but she seriously looked like she wanted to punch me in the face.

Time to go and what do I see but the Dirty Dancing slot that my husband just loves.  I told him to sit down and try it.  He has no luck but I sat down at the Elvis machine next to him and with 2 quick bonuses turned $10 into $115.  I love the Elvis one, it has always been nice to me.  Finally we decide to leave while we still had the same amount of $ we had taken out of the ATM.

We didn’t come out ahead but had enough small wins to at least not go over what we had originally budgeted for the day.  The extra $ went back into the savings for Vegas in May.  When we got home, I realized I had that leaf with me the whole time – my husband said that’s probably why I did ok whereas he lost his butt!  I realized out of my initial $160, I only truly lost $45.  He lost all of his portion!  Next time I’ll give him a leaf too.  Since he doesn’t wear a bra he will need to be a little creative about where he puts it!

Sometimes Spontaneous is Good

Last night both kids ended up staying at friends’ houses so at 1030pm the hubs and I looked at each other and said, “let’s go to the casino!” We drove an hour to OK and hit up WinStar.  I wasn’t having the best of luck but as usual my husband could make a $20 last  hours.  On the way out around 245am, I saw my favorite machine and lost my last $20.  I told my husband to take a shot at it and this is what happened:

I’ve been trying so hard to finally see a full screen of unicorns in person instead of watching others hit it on YouTube. It took 60 spins to get this so you can either lose your ass at these machines or make out pretty good.  It was nice to walk out with a $70 profit and a “free” tank of gas and also got us off the couch for once!

 

Love Forever

Well our 2014 is off to to horrible start.  It’s with a heavy, heavy heart that I tell you our beloved Labrador Retriever – family member for 9 years – passed last night after a 4 day battle with cancer that we didn’t even know existed until Tuesday. Apparently he had been masking it for a while but started to show signs of being sick and uncomfortable over the weekend.  We almost lost him Tuesday night but was able to have a procedure done to give us more time to figure out what was going on.  He had an aggressive, large tumor wrapped around his aorta in his heart.  They were able to finally tell that it had already spread into his lungs and that nothing would help him.  His heart couldn’t take it and we were told he wouldn’t last the night so we helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge.

There is not a more awful feeling in the world than to feel completely helpless when you are the one who is supposed to take care of your 4 legged best friend.  That dog loved me more than I probably will ever know.  All I do know is that last night he was tired and hurting…I could see in his eyes he had given up.  I feel like we should’ve known, we should’ve known sooner that he was sick.  But our dear boy never complained, never let on that anything was wrong.  His tail wagged until the very end.

In my life I will never know, or have never known a more gentle, kind, patient and loving soul.  He helped us raise our kids and has always been there, loving all of us unconditionally.   I sit here today with overwhelming sadness and grief and a huge hole in my heart.  Such feelings I really never knew I could have.  It is such a sad, sad day.

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Let’s Not Call Them Resolutions

2011-year-resolution-400x400I’ve been lurking around WordPress and have seen so many blogs with posts regarding New Years resolutions.  I don’t believe in resolutions.  We make these up on the first day of every year just to be forgotten quickly afterwards as one settles back into the humdrum or daily life.  I mean, we rattle these off while still on holiday vacation from work, drunk off champagne and high from sugar cookies and hot chocolate.  Why wouldn’t we think we could rule the world in the upcoming year?  The second week of January arrives, we get busy and complacent and most of us are like “Aw, F-it….at least it was a good idea!”

What is the actual meaning of the word “Resolution”?  This is what google told me:

res·o·lu·tion

ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
  2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
    “the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

If you notice – the definition actually has a negative connotation.  It has to do with deciding to not do something or resolves around the basis of problems.  .

So, let’s not call them resolutions.  Let’s call them accomplishments….let’s call them goals. What’s the difference?  Goals and accomplishments are positive things.  They don’t have to be about solving a problem or resolving not to do something.  Goals and accomplishments are about doing something new, something worthy….something fulfilling.  They don’t have to be world-changing.  Hell, they don’t even have to be life changing but if I can reach at least one realistic goal that I set for myself in 2014, no matter how small or insignificant, then it will be a good year.

After all of this thought, I actually only have a couple of goals I would like to reach this year.  There’s no need to have a long list and the fewer I have, the more time and effort I can dedicate to reaching each one. I’ll share my list with you and at this time in 2015 you can ask me how I did.

1. Start and maintain a food blog.  I’m always telling my mother she has so many recipes that it would take years and years to possibly make everything she is an expert at making.  She makes a lot of things from scratch and even the things she uses recipes for – she changes and tweaks into something of her own.  Why let these jewels go without sharing?  When I was young, we didn’t have internet, blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. She would write the recipes down and hand them to people.  Now there’s a new world out there for letting everyone else know what a great cook and baker she is and I intend on doing it.  So, after a bit of research and time – this year, I will launch a food only blog and make it official.

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2. Move the family into a bigger house.  We’ve been renting a really nice home for going on 6 years now and we have the world’s best landlords.  They never bug us, never raised the rent, never pop up unannounced, fix anything that breaks and even send us a Christmas gift every year without fail.  But with two kids that were only 10 and 8 when we moved in – who are now teenagers – we’ve outgrown it three times over.  Since the kids have made several friends who live in the area,  the front door mimics the madness of Grand Central at times and it would be really nice to have some extra room where my husband and I can retreat to and actually watch a full length movie or our favorite TV show without being interrupted.  Our lease isn’t up until the fall and I say this every year, but we will move this year.  

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3. Take a “different” summer vacation. This is one is already in motion.  We have been visiting some area of Florida for every single year except for 2012 when we went to Hawaii.  Even then, it was the same type of vacation…we hung out on the beach for a week.  This is what we do.  Beach, theme park, beach, theme park, beach, theme park on and on…  We wanted to do something different in 2014.  Go somewhere we have never been and do something we have never done.  So California is on the agenda this year thanks to my social media loving children who asked to attend VidCon, the annual convention for YouTube-ers.  We will combine the 3 day convention with a four day driving tour of Los Angeles, Malibu, Hollywood and wherever the road leads us.  It should definitely be an adventure and we are really looking forward to it.

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That is it for now.  Three goals, three very realistic and tangible goals for my 2014.  I knew way before Dec 31 what my plans were and this is a big reason why I started blogging here again.  It’s always fun to share the ride with others and have a way to document it along the way.  Maybe several will go along with me on this journey, maybe nobody will but sharing it makes me accountable.  I hope you will visit often and see where it goes.  I look forward to good things coming in 2014!

My Mother’s Famous Artichoke Dip

dipOk well maybe it’s not famous in the sense in which you think is famous….but around our family…it is F-A-M-O-U-S!

I can’t tell you how long my mom has been making this warm dish of happiness for holidays and family gatherings.  I can tell you that this dip is by far my most favorite dip ever.  Usually she serves it as an appetizer before dinner and I end up eating so much I’m full before the meal comes out.

I could eat it by the pound, every day, and never get tired of it.  Best with thin crackers, pretzels or even wheat thins…every beautiful, creamy, golden mound is a little scoop of heaven.

I dare you to try the recipe and tell me that you don’t absolutely love it.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for the addiction it might cause or the pounds you might gain by eating it.  This is definitely not a diet recipe so proceed with caution!

On the other hand….don’t think about that, just eat it!

Ingredients:

2 (8.5 oz.) cans water-packed artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup Mayo

1 cup (heaping) Parmesan cheese, grated (I suggest Kraft Parm w/Romano blend)

1 tsp dill weed

1 tbsp instant minced onions

Directions:

After draining the artichokes, squeeze out any and all extra liquid with your hands.  Break them up into a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine mayo and cheese – stir until well blended.

Add dill and mixed onions and stir.

Add artichokes to the mayo/cheese mixture and stir just until combined.  Don’t over mix.

Spoon into glass loaf pan (or small casserole dish) and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.  Careful not to overcook.

That’s it!  Get out the crackers and have a party!

 

Daily Prompt: Enchantment

When I saw the daily prompt today I thought, that will be easy! What expresses the meaning of “Enchantment” more than a beautiful night picture of the illuminated Cinderella’s castle from Disney World?  And, since we have been there so many times I have a plethora of pictures to choose from on my computer.

However, as I was going through my pictures I came accross this picture.  Taken over the summer, it is basic, not enhanced and just not very beautiful.  Even so, this is the one that expresses the meaning of “Enchantment” to me.  Why?

Because as soon as you walk through the gates of the Magic Kingdom and start making your way down Main Street USA in the early morning hours with hundreds of other families….a midst all the excitement and smiles…you are transported to a magical land.  One where the cares and struggles of the “real” world are tossed away and your only reason for being there is FUN.  My two kids…now in their early teen years, hormone ridden where every day is an emotional crap shoot…suddenly changed back to their childlike, carefree and happy selves.  My daughter skipped her way towards the castle.  I caught my son singing “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” and actually walking close to his sister.  I was overcome with emotion and had to snap this picture.  It embodies the true meaning of “Enchantment” to me.  Thank you Walt.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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Who has exciting plans tonight?

I remember the days my parents would watch the kids (they were just babies then), we would go out for the night, get dressed up and drink ourselves silly (well maybe that was just me) and ring in the new year with STYLE.

This is more of what our New Year’s Eve shennanigans look like now:

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We’ll be ringing it in with Ryan Seacrest and his menagerie of celebrities.  Let’s hope Miley doesn’t make an appearance, I don’t need that visual leading me into the new year.

Whatever you are doing and wherever you are going tonight…be safe, don’t drink and drive.

Have loads of fun and Happy 20144!

New Year, New Blog

Well well well, Happy New Year friends!

Wow it’s been a while! I’ve been thinking about my blog and the community for quite some time but life has been an INSANE ride lately. I have, however still been peeking in at some of you from time to time.

Since settling in with the job, the boy entering high school, getting finances in order – I’ve decided to start over in 2014 and make this a more active blog. I won’t be posting every day but I figure I could at least devote some time to an every-week-at-least post instead of sitting on my ass every evening playing Pet Rescue Saga (level 101 is a bitch!) and reconnect with you all.  I know you are thinking…yeah yeah that’s what you said last time!  But no, it’s TRUE!  Dockfam Adventures is BACK!

We have some exciting blog-worthy adventures planned this coming year – another annual Vegas trip for me and the hubby for our big 15th wedding anniversary, possibly a short trip to NYC, summer family vacation to Disneyland AND VidCon 2014 in Anaheim, CA and a much anticipated One Direction concert experience for my now teenage (boohoo!) daughter in the fall. Who knows what else might land in our laps this year. Hopefully all good things!

Along with these adventures I hope to bring you some yummy recipes I’ve been working on (all my own creations) and some funny stuff.

So, let’s all make 2014 the best ever and I wish you all the happiest of New Years! See you soon!

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Catching up and a little bit Disney

I’ve been the most horrible blogger ever, taking 2 months between posts!  I’m going to try to be better and start today by catching up a bit and talk a little bit about our family vacation to Disney World that we took last month.

Since I last posted, there have been a few changes in the Dockfam household, which included me leaving a job that I absolutely hated and going back to a previous employer in which I am finally comfortable, happy and content.  Funny how blessings seem to come about when you least expect it!  Also, we have added a new family member! Since our dear Pico passed away (one of our Parakeets) back in Jan, there’s been a void.  I was smitten by a little bird in my local pet shop before we went on vacation and I swore that if she were still there when we got home, I would take her home.  Well, I did and she’s such a cutie.  She’s our new parrotlet, Pika.  A parrotlet is a mini-parrot….having the attitude and appetite of a full size parrot but the size of a golf ball.  Right now I have her quarantined in our bedroom for a month to rule out any avian illnesses and I can’t wait until I can finally introduce her to our “flock”!

Instead of posting a day by day of our trip to Disney World, I thought I would just put up some pictures.  We went for 6 days to the parks and spent our last day in Tampa.  We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort while on Disney property and enjoyed great weather, warm during the days but nice and cool in the evenings with only one day where it rained for a few hours.

Our first full day began with a breakfast at Ohana at the Disney's Polynesian Resort

Our first full day began with a breakfast at Ohana at the Disney’s Polynesian Resort

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My handsome son doing a little pose

The lighting was low in the restaurant so all my pictures came out dark

The lighting was low in the restaurant so all my pictures came out dark

On the way to the park

On the way to the park

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the raceway

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The new Storybook Circus area at Magic Kingdom

The new Storybook Circus area at Magic Kingdom

Dumbo has been all re-done

Dumbo has been all re-done

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I love taking night pictures of the castle

I love taking night pictures of the castle

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The original Electrical Parade

The original Electrical Parade

My Favorite

My Favorite

Baby ducks at our resort

Baby ducks at our resort

EPCOT

EPCOT

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Journey Into Imagination

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One of the cars we designed and “raced” on the new Test Track

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Our other car

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one of the photo ops after Test Track

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Spaceship Earth

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World Showcase

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Pretzels and beer in Germany

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The “Kitchen Sink” at Beaches and Cream

Breaking the rules with our elbows on the table at "50's Prime Time Cafe"

Breaking the rules with our elbows on the table at “50′s Prime Time Cafe”

 

In line for Dinosaur

In line for Dinosaur

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Some sunset pictures from Downtown Disney

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Characters in Flight

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Highly recommend this place…great food, drinks and atmosphere!

Lunch at Crabby Bill's, Indian Rocks Beach, an old favorite

Lunch at Crabby Bill’s, Indian Rocks Beach, an old favorite

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

 

So there you have it.  An abridged, photo trip report.  Below are some of the videos that we took, kind of makes you feel as if you were there!

 

 

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